Ok, it’s official, I’m a professional. I received my first pay slip thing this week, which really excites me. I may only be temporary, and the money may only be so that my company doesn’t break any laws against slave labour, but it still counts (it really does, check the definition of “professional”)! I still don’t have anything interesting to blog about, but during my lunch break today I realised just how circular life is (not in a good way), and I thought I’d share it.
Now that I’ve got your attention, somewhat unfairly, using a picture of a childhood classic, I’ll make my point. Life is a constant cycle of starting at the bottom working your way up the food chain, getting to the top only to realise that you’ve just gotten to the bottom of an even larger chain. You start off primary school all bright eyed and bushy tailed, working your way up the ranks to Grade 7 (In South Africa and other civilised countries we really only have two school periods: primary and high school). Grade 7 is the pinnacle of primary school achievement, your final year. You’ve just spent 7 years learning basic life skills, maybe even becoming a “prefect” (only over achieving goody two shoes become one though. I never wanted to be one anyway). You think you are king of the world. Until you get to high school.
High school, the great wasteland every teenager must cross to reach the oasis of real life (ok, the real world may not be THAT great, but it sure beats high school). You spend 5 years learning reasonably useful facts, navigating the quicksand pocketed, danger infested marshlands of a social life, eventually reaching final year, or matric. Maybe you even become a “prefect” (only over achieving goody two shoes become one though. I never wanted to be one anyway). Suddenly, the world is your oyster and you think you are the bee’s knees. You make a usually ill informed choice about what to do after 12 years at school, take a tentative step possibly towards a tertiary institution, and step out into space (I’m a huge fan of mixed metaphors).
University. Another food chain (ladder more like it), bigger but less vicious than high school. You spend three or four (maybe more) years working your way up from first year to final year, eventually walking around with your beard (in a guy’s case), feeling grizzled and experienced. Then suddenly you’ve passed your final exams, and have to earn money for food. In most cases no more bumbing food off your parents, especially a hot meal everyday (if there’s one thing I didn’t appreciate staying at home it was my mom’s cooking). In order to feed yourself you generally have to get a job, kickstarting your entry into the final, but largest and harshest, food ladder of the working world. Here you tend to spend 40 years hopefully working your way up the ranks, if you’re wise: saving up for a pension. And suddenly you’ve become the lion. You have reached the throne of Pride Rock. You look out over your green planes surveying your lands. I will admit, this is hopefully where life finally gets easier. Retirement. Sitting around all day shouting at kids in hoodies on BMXs with the faint hope of getting them off your lawn. Playing with grandkids. Ideally gaming, at least in my case. This is a more cheerful thought than all the stuff about circles, odd 3D shapes and food pyramids. So if you feel life is getting you down just look forward to the end of all the work, there is one. Or you could just look at life with a non-traditional view point forsaking a career for personal freedom and happiness, which invalidates my entire post. Either way, have a good weekend, I know I will.